In a rain affected fixture, the Vine succumbed to a strong Tunbridge Wells to fall to third in the table.
Winning the toss and electing to field in a 36 overs contest, the Vine looked to make early inroads on what appeared a bowler friendly wicket. Indeed, Miles Richardson bowled Mike Waller for 6 with the score on 14. However, from this point on it was to be all Tunbridge Wells as Chris Williams blasted 62 from 54 balls, including four fours and three sixes, before being caught by Evert Bekker off the bowling of Andrew Reid-Dick. Reid-Dick (2-38) would then bowl Sam Stickler for 37 soon after. Like his brother, Alex Williams also took a liking to the Vine bowling attack as he scored a quick 51, ably assisted by Julian O’Riordan (38*). Tom Parsons (2-49) trapped Williams LBW with the score on 200, and then had Aristides Karvelas caught for 10. Tunbridge Wells eventually finished their 36 overs with a challenging total of 235-5.
The Vine chase started in the worst possible fashion, as they lost Harry Houillon, Mike Barber and Luke Schlemmer in quick succession, and slumped to 23-3. Evert Bekker continued his fine run of form, and along with Adam Rouse, the pair recovered well, before Bekker edged behind to Chris Williams for 35 off the bowling of Matt Barker (3-25). Another collapse soon entailed as Ben Price, Miles Richardson and Karl Pearson fell for just 16 runs, and with the score 98-7, the chase was all but over. Rouse (42) and James Carslaw (18) sneaked the Vine past the first batting bonus point but would eventually be bowled out for 140.
A disappointing loss for the Vine places them in third place, only 1 point behind second place Tunbridge Wells and 1 ahead of fourth place Bexley. The Vine will be hopeful of a win against Bickley Park at home next weekend, as well as a Beckenham to defeat against Tunbridge Wells in order to keep the title race wide open going into the final three weeks.
Kent Cricket League Premier 2nd Division: Sevenoaks Vine 2nd (154-4) beat Tunbridge Wells 2nd (151-9)
A blustery day on the Vine welcomed Tunbridge Wells 2nd XI in a must win contest for the Vine if they were to keep their title hopes alive.
Winning the toss and bowling first on a green tinged wicket in a 42 over game, opening bowlers Henry Procter and Matt Dalton looked to make full use of the ideal seam conditions. And that they did, as Dalton removed the dangerous and experienced Tim Luckhurst for 1, and Jamie Baldwin being caught off the bowling of Procter (1-18) for just 2. Dalton (2-43) would also pick up the wicket of Cameron Coles for 9, and with the score 39-3, the Vine were very much on top.
Captain John Bowden would now turn to his own left arm spin, and that of Freddie Young’s. Young would get captain Sam Watts caught without troubling the scorers, and then had Toby Trotman trapped LBW for just 6. Hugo Williams at the other end had playing some destructive shots, before eventually hauling out to Ant Shales off the bowling of Young who finished with figures of 3-14 from seven overs. Bowden would then trap Mike Churchill and Nigel Keess LBW in successive balls. Lorne Burns then bowled Ed Harwood for 18 and the score was 108-9. Gus Freeman (25*) and Josh Weller (22*) provided some stubborn resistance and took the Wells up to 151 from their allotted 42 overs.
The total was more than chaseable for the Vine, as openers Oli Durell and Chris Vernon looked to set up a strong platform. Having endured the early pressure of Churchill and Weller, Durell fell for 17, trapped LBW for 17. A few balls later, Cyrus White was also trapped LBW without troubling the scorers; Ant Shales then edged behind to Harwood off Weller and the score had suddenly become 37-3. Vernon at the other end remained unfazed and led the Vine up to 79-3 before Procter edged behind off the bowling of Toby Trotman (3-38). The experienced Mike Thompson (40*) came to the crease and along with Vernon (68*), chased the total down with relative ease.
A six-wicket victory for the Vine, alongside a Bexley loss now sees the 2nd XI top of the Premier League with four games remaining. A visit to noisy neighbours Holmesdale is up next; every game is now crucial if the Vine want to be crowned Premier League champions in September.
Friendly: Northdown (145) lost to Sevenoaks Vine 3rd (183)
In their bye week, the 3rd XI travelled to the far East Coast to face Northdown CC, near Margate.
The Vine were made to bat first on a questionable looking wicket, containing cracks, grass and plenty of dust. As the wicket had promised, it proved extremely difficult to bat on with Ben Anderson, Chad Quinney, Tom Edge and Milo Denny all failing to reach double figures. Enter Matt Wilson, who played extremely well on an incredibly difficult wicket. Wilson led from the front, scoring 72, and with able assistance from Charlie Williams (20) and Vineet Kokkiligadda, the Vine managed to reach a total of 183.
The Vine went into the second innings confident that their bowling attack was strong enough to defend their total. And so, it proved, as Will Ansell trapped opener Rob Green for 11, whilst Carl Nightingale managed to break the top order resistance of Freddie Day-Shields for 18 and Ben Sear for 34, finishing with figures of 2-22 from 7 overs. Vine stalwart Alan Gibson held up the other end with his deceiving off spin, claiming 2-44 from his 10 overs. It was then left to Kokkiligadda and Quinney to mop up the tail. The pair obliged as Kokkligadda bowled both Matt Morris and Callum Williams (2-16) whilst Quinney finished off the defence with two of his own (2-10).
The Vine came out winners by 38 runs and return to league action next week against Lenham. The Vine still sit top by 12 points and know the equation is simple; four wins from four will see them become league champions.
Friendly: Sevenoaks Vine 4th (292-5) beat The Mote (97 all out)
A brutal 150 (retired out) from Greg Adams set up a comfortable victory for the 4th team against the Mote at Otford.
Spared a trip to the Kentish coastline with the 3rd XI, Adams was in superb touch, hitting stylishly and powerfully all-round the ground. At the other end, Freddie Lewis (31) and Henry Smith (18) made useful contributions before Steve Bezuindenhout struck an entertaining 52* to see the 4th XI to a commanding 292 for 5 from 40 overs.
In reply, early wickets for Harry Robinson (3-16) and Rohan De Silva, meant that the Mote were never really in the match. Robinson aside, all seven bowlers used were under aged 15 and under, and victory was wrapped up with Henry Lewis claiming 3 for 1 and with Leo Bezuidenhout returning to claim 2 wickets in an over. The Mote were 97 all out, leaving the margin of victory at 195 runs.
Friendly: Sevenoaks Vine Development (200-6) beat Tonbridge (168 all out)
The Development Team welcomed Tonbridge CC to the Vine on Sunday afternoon and came out winners by 32 runs.
Losing the toss, the Vine were asked to bat first and got off to a poor start as openers Cyrus White and Ben Harvey lost their wickets to opening bowlers Chris Sargeant and Paul French respectively. Harry Houillon at three proved to be the start of the show, as Houillon played some of trademark shots as he first led the Vine recovery and charge at the end of the innings. Ably assisted by Haworth (26) and Leo Bezuidenhout (21), Houillon finished on 125 not out in the Development Team’s second ever century, and second in two weeks. The Vine finished on a respectable 200-6 from their 40 overs.
Opening bowlers Will Ansell and Ryan Gavin looked to make early inroads into the Tonbridge batting line-up, with Gavin taking the wicket of opener Julius Marshall for 6. Captain Reid-Dick then turned to his own left arm spin and to Michael Procter’s; the pair turned the game on its head as Procter finished with figures of 2-30 from 7 overs. Reid-Dick however would be the star with the ball, finishing with impressive figures of 5-21 from 8 overs as he tore through the Tonbridge middle and lower order, taking the important wicket of opening batsman Damian Howsam for 60. Robin Docherty bowled a tidy and pacey spell and was certainly unfortunate to not pick up a wicket. As he did the day before, Leo Bezuidenhout ensured the Vine’s victory as he took the final two wickets (2-8), with Tonbridge bowled out for 168.
The Development Team have now won four out of six games, and can look forward to a week off before playing away at Tunbridge Wells and then at home against Gravesend the following week.